2 comments on “Raising the Bar

  1. I think you’re absolutely right, Geoff. Being moved is, to me, the most important thing about both storytelling and writing – much more important than technical perfection or performance skills, though obviously they help – and the key is to be moved oneself by one’s own story. I recall seeing Melanie Ray (Canadian storyteller) several years ago at Beyond the Border telling a 3 hour version of Tristan and Isolde and marvelling at how she completely effaced herself so all we saw was the pictures of the story in front of us like a film. I had a similar experience of telling myself yesterday when Elizabeth Scott and I told an inspiring story of courage and sacrifice from the Second World War and at the end people had tears in their eyes, as did I, and even the British Legion bugler and flag bearer who opened and closed the event. I realised afterwards that I had completely lost myself in the story. Incidentally, I am always find your posts moving and illuminating.

  2. I remember that performance of Tristan and Isolde by Melanie Ray. It was the highlight of that year’s Beyond the Border for me too! Melanie’s love for all the characters in the story and her own vulnerability were so transparent. And I can imagine just how powerful yours and Elizabeth’s performance was too. Of course, its a fine line between vulnerability and sentimentality – I find some US storytellers in particular seem to play deliberately on the heartstrings in mawkish and manipulative ways that I resent. It just has to be real, unpremeditated, open-hearted, and spontaneous. Not much to ask, eh? I’m very pleased that you are enjoying the blog, Umi. I’m always greatly encouraged by your thoughtful responses. Thank you.

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